The most difficult part about dating or making new friends can be simply meeting people. Most of us are surrounded by people every day — at work, at school, even in our apartment complexes or neighborhoods. The trouble is in knowing if we want to “meet” these people or not — how can you tell if someone is a quality person? How can you meet people who are interesting, or attractive, or worth spending time with?
Meeting Friends of Friends
Many time our friends have people they think we would be “perfect for”, and don’t tell us out of embarassment or a perceived lack of interest on our part. The danger in meeting a “friend of a friend” is that you could spoil a good relationship — if your date doesn’t go well, you could put the relationship you already had with your friend in jeopardy. Also, if your friend matches you up with someone who is totally not your style, you run the risk of embarassing that friend or yourself by admitting that you just didn’t like them.
While there are dangers to this kind of matchmaking, there are many advantages as well. Meeting people through a friend is kind of like pre screening your potential dates — if you trust your friend’s judgement, you can trust that they are going to match you up with a partner you may like. Another advantage to meeting people through a friend, as opposed to blind dating, is simply a matter of safety. You can trust that your friend isn’t hooking you up with a creep, a rapist, a serial killer, etc. This may seem like an out of this world fear, but there are some people who are afraid to meet new people simply out of lack of trust. Treat your friend like a free matchmaking service, and ask around among your social network to see if there’s anyone who would make a good match with you.
If you don’t trust your friends to make matches for you, or if you’re looking for a more scientific method of meeting people, there are plenty of matchmaking services available that will analyze you and attempt to hook you up with someone you’re compatible with. Matchmaking services exist both online and in “bricks and mortar” businesses — check out your local yellow pages for matchmaking services that take place off the internet, or perform a web search if you’re more interested in meeting people through an internet matchmaker. A matchmaker will interview you, ask you a series of questions, take down information about the kind of person you’re interested in meeting, and then place you in a database. Either by hand or through a computer system, potential “matches” will be made and the information passed on to you for your approval. You can agree or disagree to meet a person based on a facet of their personality or their looks — and without having to reject them to their face.
The only real downside to matchmaker services is cost — the cost is considerable, especially when compared to meeting people on your own or through a friend. Still, if you put a premium on matchmaking that is based on personality and taste, and you don’t mind paying a bit for it, there are tons of matchmaking services you can use.
Meeting People at Community Service
Not to be maudlin, but its always a good idea to give back to your community. As a bonus, it is nearly impossible to perform some sort of community service without meeting people. If you’re the socially conscious type, and you decide to give back by serving food at a food bank or soup kitchen, you can be assured that the people you meet who are also volunteering are similar to you in at least one way. Working side by side with people is a natural environment to strike up conversation — it would be impossible to do volunteer work without chatting one another up a bit — and you can “fish” for the kind of person you want to meet through your questions. You already know that this person has a passion for volunteering, and having one thing in common is better than meeting a random person at a bar with whom you may share nothing at all. Volunteer work is a fun way to meet people — you can get a little dirty, work up a sweat, and get an idea of the type of person you’re dealing with by watching the way they work. Also, unlike matchmaking services or cruising singles clubs, volunteering is free — even if you don’t end up meeting people you’re interested in dating, you haven’t spent any money in the process, and you’ve done a good deed.
Meeting People at Social Clubs
Much like community service or volunteer work, meeting people at a social club will ensure some common ground. If you’re a book enthusiast, join a book club and begin to socialize with the new friends you’ve made. You can instantly bond over your love of a certain genre or author, and along the way you’ll meet friends and read books you may have been eager to read for years. Book clubs are obviously not the only way to go in terms of a social club — you can join a sporting group, such as a bowling league or tennis club, or attend wine tastings or any number of events. The best way to find social clubs and events for meeting people is on bulletin boards at local shops, classified ads in the newspaper, or even your local online magazine — many communities have websites dedicated to local events, and this is a perfect resource for meeting people.
You don’t have to go to bars or arrange blind dates to take a chance on meeting people. The four options above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to meeting new people — be creative and put yourself out there for the world to see. If you want to meet new people, the only way to do so is get up out of your house and into the world. Put a smile on your face and don’t be surprised when you suddenly have a huge list of potential dates.